Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dogtooth - DVD Review


Starring Christos Stergioglou and Michelle Valley.
Directed by Giorgos Lanthimos.

It's been over a week since I caught this on Netflix Streaming (yay, Netflix!) and I still haven't figured out what I think about it. My first impression, as the credits rolled, was that I disliked it. It was a movie with a premise but no plot, where we watched things unfold but nothing really happens, where we have one decision but no repercussions for the events that transpire.

And yet, days later, it swims around in my head, daring me to make conclusions. It cannot be so easily dismissed. Like Glenn Close in bunny-killing mode, it will not be ignored.

It takes place almost entirely at a home, a home with a mother and father and their three grown children. We do see the father leave the house, go to work, meet up with a female security guard whom he brings home so that she might have sex with his son. The children, it seems, have never left the house. Ever. They are home-taught, and for some bizarre reason, their parents teach them the wrong names for objects. They only watch videos they've made of themselves. They're taught that cats are deadly.

There's a perversely dark humor about it all. Why would parents do this to their children? There are no answers. We only see an example if such parents existed. It's a parable of over-domineering parents who can control their children however they like, but eventually news from the outside must leak in and make the children question assumed truths.

It's as though a Micheal Haneke film and a Todd Solondz film had a child. I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone except the type of person who'd be excited by my previous sentence.

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